The Banana Comic Hour
& a Cabbage Walking Tour
Only bananas to elicit such an immediate, jocose reaction from us. From shape to content, it’s not even a fruit, but a berry that comes with its own signature visual gag: someone slipping on a peel. A soul that hasn’t laughed at a butt being splashed on the floor is yet to be born.
The cabbage, on the other, still odorous side, is about foods not fit for dessert. Dieting, intestinal functions, and the sober, stark Irish and Eastern European cuisines are its realm, and it has thrived for centuries as a tool for parental torture of their crying, spoiled-rot tots.
And yet, for all its sensual pleasures, banana was central to colonial wars, even if slaves and marauders wouldn’t recognize it today: we now favor Cavendish, a seedless, sterile clone. But all is forgiven if that cream pie lives up to its billing.
As for the hardy cabbage, it may be bitter like a prescription, but its color palette is unmatched. Sure, it’s resilient, and it’ll remain fibrous after hours of boiling. It won’t apologize when others veggies wilt, and yet, some would take it for a walk, but we’ll get there before soup.
It may seem in bad taste to talk about food in a week like that. At least insensitive, some would say, to write about edibles and not mention Belgium waffles. But both bananas and cabbages beat any coward massacre, as the one we’re unfortunately forced to endure and grieve.
But what’s better than a hearty meal and a succulent shake? Cooking with compassion will always beat terror, let alone hunger. Rather than war, we’d serve bananas and cabbage to those suffering in Brussels. Here’s to your honor; may this meal lift your spirits.
TROPICAL RACE & THE PEEL SPIEL
The world eats more mangoes, but bananas have a more nuanced if brutal history: the rampage of Europeans and Americans to ransack Latin American nations, and the few politically-charged, and blatantly racist expressions to match: monkey business, banana republic, etc. And never forget those excessive plantains.
Its popularity growing, bananas may have climate change as a formidable adversary, and all sorts of fungi remain a constant threat. Some fear extinction, but while that doesn’t happen, we’re surely the big banana here, so don’t ever call us Berry.
Celebrity came with Andy Warhol, public demand brought it to Iceland, but monkeys were always the ones to better peel a banana. By the way, (more)
* Fostering Clones
* The Whole Spiel
speaking of slippery, Kiyoshi Mabuchi won the 2014 Ig Nobel Award by measuring the friction of its skin in a lab.
CRUCIFEROUS & THE PROTEST WALK
Perhaps for lacking the appeal of bananas, stuffed cabbages have inspired a couple of reflexive books that offer a fresh take on the ancient vegetable. And, despite its surprising vulnerability to pests, as a food staple, they’ve been crucial for keeping the world fed.
Chinese artist Han Bing, however, has definitely other ideas about cabbages. For over a decade, he’s been parading them through the streets of Beijing, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo and other cities. Why? He just walks them; it’s up to you to draw your own conclusions.
Not so, say Chinese officials with whom he’s had run-ins in the past. They either don’t get his act or are, actually, ahead of the curve: someone in faraway Kashmir, on the volatile India-Pakistan border, is now known as, you’ve guessed it, the Kashmiri Cabbage Walker.
A WALK FOR PEACE ON THE WILD SIDE
He walks the streets of Srinagar with a cabbage on a leash and a clear and present danger on his mind: the idea of turning his a gesture into defiance against war is not something taken lightly down there. So no one’s blaming him for hiding his face or concealing his name.
But whereas his identity is unknown, his courage is not. All of a sudden, a trivial post about fruits and vegetables is neither about berries nor fibers anymore. Or food or healthy habits. All have paled and faded to the darkness of suicide bombings and senseless carnage.
It’s a mad, mad, insane world, so let’s remember again Ethel Merman slipping and sliding and landing on her behind in the hilarious hospital scene of the 1963 Stanley Kramer movie. Or if you wish, remember the last time you’ve eaten garbage and what a number it did in your track.
How else are we supposed to react, besides grieving and having a little cry? a little laugh, of course. Life is no show business, which is not even that important. But boy, aren’t you glad that 53 years ago William Rose thought that you’d be needing one so badly today? We are.